metabasis  metabasis
 me-ta'-ba-sis from Gk. metabaio, "to pass over"
transitio, transicio

A transitional statement in which one explains what has been and what will be said.


"You have heard how the proposed plan will fail; now consider how an alternative might succeed."

Smith sets forth eight kinds of metabasis, categorized according to the sort of relationship being announced between the preceding and subsequent matter:

  1. Equal
    The matters you have heard were wonderful, and those that you shall hear are no less marvelous.
  2. Unequal
    You have heard very grievous things, but you shall year more grievous.
  3. Like
    I have spoken of his notable enterpises in France, and now I will rehearse his worthy acts done in England.
  4. Contrary
    As I have spoken of his sad adversity and misery, so will I now speak of his happy prosperity.
  5. Differing
    I have spoken of manners; now it remains that I speak concerning doctrine.
  6. Anticipating Objection
    You may think me too long in the threatenings of the law; I will now pass to the sweet promises of the gospel.
  7. Reprehension
    Why do I dewll on these things? I shall hasten my speech unto that which is the prinicpal point of the matter in question.
  8. Consequents
    You have heard how he promised, and now I will tell you how he performed.
Related Figures

  Sources: Ad Herennium 4.26.35 ("transitio"); Melanch. IR d3r ("transitio" "metabasis"); Sherry (1550) 59 ("metabasis," "transicio," "transicion"); Peacham (1577) T1v; Smith 237-40 ("metabasis," "transitio")

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Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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